Favorite Poem #2: “Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare

My personal library, which includes several editions of the sonnets, reflects my complete  fascination with Shakespeare’s work. And even though most scholars agree that Sonnet 18 (as well as the first 126 sonnets) was written to a young male, this sonnet lives on as one of the most romantic verses of all time. The final couplet alone is poetry at its best!

SONNET 18

Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Favorite Poem #1: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

My first selection is one of my mother’s favorite poems, and just like the poem’s message, she has always encouraged me to take the road “less traveled by.”

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

-by Robert Frost-

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

Yes, the poem is about choices, and life is full of tough ones. Frost admitted that the poem was about a friend who had gone off to war, and no matter which path he took, he would regret his choice. Sometimes we choose the path “less traveled by,” or the rough road, thinking it will yeild greater rewards. And yet like the traveler, we look back with a sigh always wondering if the other way would have been better.